Maurice Godelier (1934-)
Major work: The making of great men (1982), The enigma of the gift (1999)
Key concepts: Marxist anthropology, structuralism, ethnography
Reated figures: Marx, Levi-Strauss
Political associations: Part of the university bureaucracy, policy advisor, Professor at EHESS

Godelier tried to find a synthesis between Marxism and Levi-Strauss to return to Marx (Dross) and problematised economic rationality.

Reading Quelque Aspects de la method du Capital (Revue Economie at Politique, No. 80, 1961)

This is quite interesting, it argues that capital is logical/historical, and has two major dimensions, qualitative and quantitative. Much of what Goldelier describes as the method is a conventional � pre-Althusserian reading �the order of analysis, which is a synthesis of multiple approaches, passes from abstract determinations to more concrete ones. The example given is comparison between sale and purchase in Volume 1 and Volume 3. In the first volume sale and purchase are simple abstract relations between owner of commodity and owner of money, in the more concrete sections in Volume 3 this formulae is dispensed with. So Godelier reads the analysis as the creation of abstractions that are later refined or dispensed with.

He also argues � something Althusser in 4 years was to strongly contest � �La methode du Capital se constitue sur le fondement de l�hypothese philosophique du materialisme. La philosophie se trouve envelopee au Coeur de la theorie qu�elle a permis de developer. Le capital suppose donc le mouvement critique qui meme Marx a l�idealisme dialectique au materialisme a travers Les manuscripts de 1844, L�ideologie allemande, etc�la genese de la methode du Capital dans les ouvrages qui le precedent.� (pp 108 �Rationalite et irrationalite en economie (Volume 2)

Marx practices �abstract, formal analysis�.

In the Mirror of Production, Baudriallard is particularly hard on Godlier�s Marxist anthropology. The criticism is that the concepts and categories of modern political economy are imposed upon the past, and massive wasted effort expended in trying to make primitive societies fit into categories obviously not appropriate to cognising them. The symbolic element of these societies is understood as an adjunct or superstructure, and the principle of sepration of economic life forbid s the analsyiss form seeing that �mode of production� etc did not exist in pre-capitalist formations.

It would be good to counterpoise Baudrillard, Godelier and Hindess and Hirst.


Aux sources de l'anthropologie économique (Godelier, fr)

Deconstruct to Reconstruct: An Interview with Maurice Godelier (by Paul Eiss and Thomas C. Wolfe)

Info on receipt of some bureaucratic award with publication details

Conceptions of Capitalism: Godelier and Keynes (by Colin Danby .pdf)

La production des Grands Hommes. Pouvoir et domination masculine chez les Baruya de Nouvelle Guin�e, Ed. Fayard (1982). (The Making of Great Men. Male domination and Power among the New Guinea Baruya, Cambridge University Press, 1986). Prize of the French Academy.
- L�id�el et le mat�riel, Ed. Fayard (1984). (The Mental and the Material. Thought, economy and society, Verso,1986).
- L��nigme du don, Ed. Fayard (1996). (The Enigma of the Gift, Chicago, Cambridge; Chicago University Press, Polity Press, 1998).
La Production du corps. Approches anthropologiques et historiques and Le Corps humain, supplici�, poss�d�, cannibalis�. Texts collected and edited by Maurice Godelier and Michel Panoff. Amsterdam, Archives contemporaines (1998).

Rationalitie et Irrationalite en Economie (2 volumes) � Volume II contains these headings: �Les structures de la methode du �Capital� de Karl Marx�, �Quelques aspects de la methode du �Capital�, �La mesure de la valuer� �Theorie marginaliste & theories marxiste de la valeur & des prix�: FM/ petite collection maspero � 1969

Also edited volume on Marxist anthropology